The National Assn. of Urban Debate Leagues, which includes the Los Angeles chapter, is a nonprofit network of policy debate teams made up mainly of minority students from urban high schools in 24 large cities, including New York, Boston and Chicago.
"Too often students are inactive, passive recipients of the educational system and its process," said Brett Flater, director of Los Angeles Urban Debate League, which was launched in the fall. "When they understand they have a voice, a drastic change occurs: they're suddenly engaged. You don't have to train students to get up and express an opinion -- they're full of them."
The stereotype of debaters as suburban geeks wearing pocket protectors isn't a barrier for participating students, but it's an image they hope to change.
Like the topics they argue, debate itself takes research and strategy. Students receive nearly 600 pages of high-level research organized into specific topics that they craft into an argument.http://www.latimes.com/news/local/los_angeles_metro/la-me-debate20-2009jan20,0,5540811.story?track=rss